Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Digging for Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik

Digging for Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik
by Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. Cline
Charlesbridge, 2011. 66 pgs. Nonfiction.

The ongoing argument about whether the Trojan War was real or simply a product of Homer's imagination plays out in this fine volume of history and archaeology. Heinrich Schliemann, long feted as the discoverer of the historical Troy, financed and direct the excavation of the site at Hisarlik which English diplomat Frank Calvert had already identified and purchased. So anxious was he to become known as the discoverer of Troy that he tore into the mound with careless abandon, destroying artifacts and recording findings only at the end of the day rather than at the moment of discovery. Later expeditions proceeded with greater care to discover not one but 9+ different Troys built atop each other's ruins. The overlaps of Troys 6 and 7 showed archaeological evidence of the destruction that was probably caused by war. Young students interested in Greek and Roman mythology and ancient warcraft will find much to enjoy in this well-crafted volume: the book begins with the story of Helen and Paris, which sides the gods and goddesses took, and why, and then moves into the historical realm for the remainder of the text. Clear and informative prose makes this book a standout about ancient history for grades 4 and up.

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